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In a year when many small businesses are struggling, making sales is the shortest path to getting back on track. While most would agree that you have to spend money to make money, many businesses don’t have the option to spend large sums of money at this time.
Instead of stressing about coming up with the funds for a big year-end ad campaign, think outside of the box. Difficult times call for creative solutions, and the right ones can offer big returns without big investments.
Communicate More Efficiently
Before you can get potential customers to sign on, you need to know what they’re thinking. Learning how prospects interact with your business will help you make more effective sales pitches. It may sound difficult, but an easy way to start is by implementing email tracking software.
Email tracking allows you to see who exactly is opening and interacting with your emails. It also can show you what content resonates better with those you are trying to reach. Email isn’t going anywhere any time soon, so getting the most out of the medium now will maximize returns later.
One of the simplest ways to increase sales with little cost is to make your calls to action more clear. It should appear on your website, in the emails you send, and on all of your social media platforms. A good CTA doesn’t need to be complex: learn more here, sign up for a free trial, subscribe, almost anything. It’s your best chance to get potential customers engaged through digital communication.
If you already prominently feature your CTA, make sure it’s optimized to stand out. Use eye-catching colors and language, and make sure it’s easily visible. The more refined it is, the better your results will be.
Learn Your Customers’ Habits
Communicating efficiently and effectively are great ways to start a customer’s journey and make sales. In order to keep the quality of that journey high, you’ll need a customer relationship management system to facilitate it.
They may sound high-dollar, but plenty of CRMs are available for no upfront cost. Choosing one of those will allow you to explore the benefits without making a financial commitment. With a CRM, you can evaluate customer interests, see past purchases, and review any pain points they may encounter. The more of this data you have, the more effective your sales pitch becomes.
Maximize Your Online Presence
Customers can’t start their journeys with you if they don’t know you exist. An often overlooked way to generate more business with few costs is to make sure you can be found online. Optimize your website, utilize social media, and expand your presence on Google.
Make sure up-to-date company information is on your website. Things such as how to contact you, what you offer, and your call to action should be easy-to-find.
As for social media, create accounts on the platforms where your customers are most likely to be. Once there, interact with your audience regularly. If you already have a robust website and social media, start bolstering your Google front.
You can establish a free Google My Business account that lists information about your business, answer customer questions, and host reviews. Check it regularly to make sure the details are up to date. Otherwise, customers may be calling the wrong number expecting you to pick up the phone.
Make Customers Work for You
A satisfied customer can be a great marketing tool for your small business. Reach out to some of your best, and ask if they’d be willing to write a review you can share. If a potential customer sees a positive peer review or opinion, they’re more likely to make a purchase themselves.
According to a Nielsen report, more than 80% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family. Moreover, two-thirds of those surveyed said they trusted consumer opinions online. Online reviews and word-of-mouth marketing are some of the most effective strategies out there, and neither has to cost a penny.
Turn Old Business Into New Business
Sometimes, customers are wary of having their opinions posted publicly. If you find that yours are reluctant to share reviews, consider a referral program instead. This allows your best clients to funnel in new customers without telegraphing it for the world to see.
Offering a discount is the most common incentive for referrals, but don’t limit yourself. Gauge what your customers value about your business and give them more of it as a reward. You’re not only gaining new clients; you’re strengthening existing relationships as well.
Cast a Smaller Net
If you’d like to pursue a more direct marketing route, save money by avoiding large campaigns. During the holiday season, even local ad buys can completely take over a year-end budget. Instead, reach a smaller, high-potential audience through targeted digital advertising.
Use what you already know to develop a small campaign focused on those most similar to customers you already have. A great place to do this is on social media, where advertising is relatively cheap and targeting simple. Many platforms allow you to target a “lookalike” audience that matches the interests of people following your accounts. Pursuing these leads engages a more fallow audience at a much more reasonable price.
Build Professional Relationships
While searching for new customers, don’t ignore the opportunity to connect with other businesses. The small business community is just that: a community. Find other businesses in your area and explore the possibility of partnerships.
Through partnerships, you can offer exclusive packages that may be more appealing than just one product or service. Creating a relationship with another business can also help keep customers in your shared sales funnel longer. Referring customers between companies expands your base, increasing long-term sales without upping long-term costs.
There’s no one right way to boost sales, but no business needs to resort to expensive leads or ad buys. Strengthening your existing network and sales infrastructure can have just as powerful of an impact at a fraction of the price.